Picking the Right Players: Applying the Perceptive Interpretation of Game Theory to Rational-choice Institutionalism

Tomer Perry (Stanford University)

Abstract: This paper examines the choice of players and strategies in the application of game theoretic models to political institutions. Drawing on Ariel Rubinstein’s perceptive interpretation of game theory, I argue that the choice should be guided by the principle of relevancy; models should include only factors which are perceived by the players to be relevant. Extending Rubinstein’s concept to the choice of players and strategies, I interpret the literature on democracy as self-enforcing equilibrium and argue that the criterion I provide can help settle an argument between researchers in the field regarding the relevant players. Moreover, the approach provides criteria which define what counts as empirical evidence in support of a proposed model.

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